It was the first in a series of three linked audio stories centred around the village of Stockbridge. The village first appeared in Doctor Who Magazine's comic stories and made its Big Finish debut in Autumn. It was also the first Doctor Who audio story to feature the Rutan Host (although they had already appeared in the Bernice Summerfield audio series).
1199: Returning from the Crusades, Hubert, the new Earl of Mummerset, comes to take possession of Stockbridge Castle, his ancestral home. The only trouble is, in his absence, demons took possession of his Castle...
These events are not unconnected, the Doctor and Nyssa discover. There's an alien presence squatting in Stockbridge Castle, and it's their job to expose it. If Turkish knights, killer boars and a gang of rogue paladins don't stop them first...
Hubert, Earl of Mummerset and Yavuz cannot decipher the route to Stockbridge Castle in the year 1199 and note the descending fog. Eventually they are approached by Maud the Withered. The Earl claims he has returned from Palestine to claim his father's castle, but she reveals the devils and goblins came and took his father away. Maud the Withered warns them about the new ruler being Lucifer.
Meanwhile Nyssa and the Doctor continue to observe the play. The play claims the Doctor can bring the dead back to life, which puzzles and frustrates the Doctor as he claims to Nyssa he can do no such thing. She suggests that it may be an event that happens in the future that hasn't happened to them yet. They decide to investigate this Turkish knight mentioned in the play.
The Doctor and Nyssa go into town where the Doctor is recognised. Although he wants to inquire about the play, the arrival of someone puts this on hold, and they announce that one of the actors has gone funny and they need a new person to play Santa, and the Doctor is recommended by one of the village folk.
Yavuz attempts to scale the castle to try and get inside with Hubert following in tow. He slips and falls down the stairs. Finally managing to get inside, he attempts to find a way to let Hubert in, but suddenly he is attacked. Hubert, fearing for his life, makes a run for it.
The Doctor is forced to take part in the play again. The Doctor reluctantly partakes in it. Suddenly one of the players begins acting strangely and attacks the Doctor.
Hubert address the village, explaining he is the king's son and has returned to rule. The villagers don't believe him and ridicule him. He claims his sword is the same his father gave him, but the words are in rune and cannot be deciphered. Trying to gain their trust, he offers gold to whomever rids the castle of the demons he heard earlier attack Yavuz. However, Maud the Withered joins the crowd and reminds him of what she said. Hubert stands by his word, hoping to have someone rid the castle of Demons.
The actor, seemingly possessed, collapses on stage and the Doctor and Nyssa try to help him. The Doctor talks to him and finds that their presence has caused his ancestor's memories of the Doctor and Nyssa to flood his memory, hence the strange behaviour, as he now believes he is his ancestor Osbert, peasant of Mummerset, from the year 1199. The Doctor, wanting to get down to the bottom of the matter, decides that is where they need to go.
The Doctor and Nyssa take the TARDIS back to 1199 where they find a still intact castle of Stockbridge. There they meet Hubert and Maud the Withered. Hubert happily informs him that he knows the Doctor has arrived to help exercise the "demons" inhabiting the castle. Suddenly, Osbert, they see, runs from the castle in fear and falls into the moat. Initially set to death, the Doctor persuades them to be kinder, to which Hubert decides that Osbert should be sent back into the river to drown for his cowardice, after first being permanently branded with a mark of shame. Before the Doctor can protest, Hubert gives him a sword and tells him that it is now his turn to enter the castle and attempt to vanquish the demons that supposedly inhabit it...
Just as Osbert is about to branded for failing, the Doctor interrupts and says that the Earl's branding order will be revoked if he joins the Doctor on his quest to rid the castle of demons. He agrees as it is revealed the Doctor helped Sir Justin banish demons as well.
The Doctor and party go to the TARDIS so that the Doctor can retrieve some "weapons. While there he tells Nyssa to try and get rid of Hubert so that they can investigate the castle without interruption from him. The two flee as Hubert's servants go around to the back of the TARDIS as the Doctor commanded them to get his "tools". They bring Osbert with them.
The Doctor falls into a boar trap and tells Nyssa and Osbert to flee as he will find another way out. The boars chase them instead, as it turns out they are going after Nyssa since she smells of horses, having stepped in horse manure earlier. They manage to give them the slip when Nyssa removes her shoes and throws them elsewhere for the oars to follow. They continue to make their way on foot.
The Doctor encounters Maud the Withered again, while still stuck in the hole in the boar trap. He asks her to help him out. She refuses at first, not wanting to have her "prediction" turn out to be false, but the Doctor manages to convince her, saying that he wants her to save him from certain doom so he can go to the castle to face certain doom. Just then the boars return to eat them.
Nyssa and Osbert make it back to the village where they are chased by the villagers. A knight, Roland of Brittany, a Normand knight, arrives and Osbert convinces Nyssa to enlist the knight's help using her title of "Lady". The knight protects them and reveals he has arrived to help take care of the demon problem at castle Stockbridge and relieve Hubert of his position and, to Nyssa's chagrin, kills Jasper, a villager.
The Doctor and Maud arrive at the castle. They travel down a secret tunnel with Maud guiding.
Hubert discovers from a villager that a Normand knight, Roland of Brittany, has come to relieve him of his position. Just then, he arrives, with Nyssa and informs Hubert of his intention to rid the demons from the castle, accusing him of becoming corrupt due to offering 100 acres of land as a "reward" for vanquishing them.
Doctor and Maud continue to walk through the passage. She reveals the older Earl sold his son to the army in Palestine and that the night he died, the castle was inflicted with brimstone and other terrible things occurred. The Doctor is confused when he hears a waterwheel in the distance.
Roland discusses his "terms of service" with Hubert. Hubert initially refuses him when he demands a large reward but when Roland accuses him of being evil through greed, he reluctantly agrees. However, Roland then decides that Hubert is to come along since he knows the castle interior and a cowardly Hubert then convinces Roland to also bring Nyssa and Osbert along, believing Nyssa's beauty to be able to draw out the demons and Osbert having already encountered them once may be able to provide useful information. They set off for the castle.
The Doctor and Maud arrive in the castle's kitchen. Maud attempts to taste some of the elderberry wine in one of the barrels but gets frightened when she sees a body in the wine barrel. It turns out to be Yavuz. The Doctor attempts to talk to him, but all he can say is report the progress of the experiment he is currently partaking in. Maud then discovers an identical body in another vat of wine. This Yavuz-body announces that the supervisor has been alerted. Maud, terrified, runs off but is killed by a bolt of electricity from a nearby entity. The Doctor confronts the mysterious entity and realizes it is an enemy he has encountered before... the Rutans!
The Doctor reveals he knows the Rutans, surprising them. He suspects that they have arrived in the twelfth century because they are trailing the Sontaran Linx but the Rutans are unaware and surprised to learn about Linx's presence.
Roland and his party arrive at the castle. The gates are mysteriously lowered and they charge in despite Nyssa's warnings about a suspected trap. The Rutans inside prepare to destroy Roland and his party. Inside the castle, they find all the previous vanquished knights that Hubert had sent. The gate closes behind them and on Roland's demands, they reluctantly move closer to the keep. Hubert then sees Yavuz, who warns them they will not be moving further. Nyssa recalls the Turkish Knight, to which Yavuz is referred to by Hubert, from the play in Stockbridge. Just then, multiple copies of Yavuz advance on them.
The Doctor further discovers that Linx was actually tracking down this Rutan and that the Rutans had come to earth to gather humans and clone them and take their form to make an army to fight for them. The Doctor is then brought to a torture device so that they can extract more information from him. Roland and party try to fight the multiple Yavuz but they are able to electrocute Roland's knights. Nyssa demands he retreat and eventually he does so reluctantly. Nyssa devises a plan and the knights end up defeating themselves by striking the metal bar and electrocuting each other. The knights, in the shapes of Yavuz, suddenly meta-morph into their native Rutan form, scaring Nyssa and retreat, including the one torturing the Doctor, leaving him in the device. Nyssa explains to Roland that he needs to remove his metal armour so he can't be harmed by the electricity. It also seems Hubert and Osbert had fled in the battle.
Hubert stumbles on the Doctor and releases him. They find Nyssa and Hubert but when Roland introduces himself the Doctor explains he is lying as Roland of Brittany's existence itself is debatable and it is revealed Roland is actually a mercenary. The Doctor explains that the Rutans are conducting scientific research, investigating into ways they can disguise themselves by changing form like a chameleon. When they wonder where the Rutans are getting their power, the Doctor realises the water wheel he heard earlier is the very device they are looking for as it is creating the electric field around the castle as well as acting as a generator for the production of the heavy fog and other things. Nyssa takes the lance to jam into the wheel and goes off on her own to do it, telling the Doctor Hubert doesn't need to go with her to protect her. Roland and Hubert ask how they can trust the Doctor and that he is not one of the shape-shifting demons and Roland demands that the other two kneel on the ground with their hands up as he doesn't trust them.
Nyssa finds Osbert and believing he is in shock, brings him along to find the waterwheel. Hubert tries to convince Roland that the Doctor is the demon but the Doctor first reveals he was friends with Sir Justin and finds Hubert cannot explain what he looked like, despite supposedly fighting alongside him, while Roland can, having actually fought alongside him. Further, the Doctor is not convinced by Hubert's explanation that despite having grown up in the castle, he cannot navigate it because Rutans have changed it too much. Roland prepares to kill Hubert.
Nyssa prepares to take out the water wheel and explains how she will do this to Osbert. However, he begins acting strangely, revealing she could be of use and transforms into a Rutan. Hubert admits he is not the Earl of Mummerset but an apprentice apothecary and that he was in the holy land, when the Earl was injured and left in his care, he died. Hubert decided to dress in his armour and fight as him for a day to make it seem like he'd cured the Earl, then as the 'Earl' wander into the desert and make it seem like he died. However, he was captured instead and spent seven years in jail with Yavuz, promising him that if they make it out alive he would grant Yavuz a large reward for being his servant. When news of the elder Earl's death reached him, he assumed the guise of the Earl and went to claim the castle as he owed Yavuz. Just then, multiple Yavuz-like Rutans begin to attack them, having snuck up on them.
Nyssa manages to stop the water wheel with the lance and the Rutan, seemingly drained of power, faints. However a second Rutan arrives and revives the drone leader and returns the water wheel to functioning status, restoring the field. They advance, intending to absorb Nyssa and gain her knowledge to help them. The Doctor, Hubert and Roland make a run for it but are pursued by the Turkish Knights (Yavuz bodies), but Hubert warns the Doctor about the portcullis as it seemingly closes in on the Doctor...
The Doctor manages to miss being impaled by the portcullis but his coat has ripped. Hubert notices the Rutan Turkish Knights have disappeared. The villagers arrive asking if the demons have been exercised and Roland claims that they have by his hand. He then tells the villagers that the Doctor is an evil wizard and Hubert is a liar, forcing Hubert to confess and betraying them so that he may take the castle and Earlship for himself. Hubert tries to flee but they catch him and Roland demands the Doctor and Hubert be burned at the steak.
As they prepare to burn Hubert and the Doctor at the steak, the Doctor feels the hair on the back of his neck standing up, he realises that the electric field hasn't been shut off and desperately tries to seek a way out. Osbert arrives with more Turkish knights (Rutan human soldiers) and they save the Doctor, intending to acquire his knowledge, while Hubert convinces the villagers of Roland's treachery and asks for their aid.
The Rutans demand the Doctor open his TARDIS and reveal that they have acquired Nyssa. She demands the key and extracts the energy lattice , while the Doctor becomes angry assuming they have killed her as he was very fond of Nyssa and vows revenge on the Rutans, declaring peaceful options no longer viable after what they have done. However, the Doctor is confused when they address Nyssa as the Doctor's superior and comment on he poor drone control skills.
Hubert and Roland fight for approval and allegiance of the villagers. Roland is dragged into the water by Hubert where he cannot swim and ends up falling down the waterfall towards the water wheel. The Rutans are losing power but are instructed by Nyssa to use the kinetic energy power converter she has just given them instead. They thank her and depart. She explains to the Doctor that the Rutan's one was damaged and that they do not have the resources to grow a new one, so she bargained for the Doctor's freedom in exchange for one from the TARDIS. The Doctor laments what Nyssa has done.
The villagers return saying that all the knights (Rutan soldiers) have keeled over, with Hubert realising that Roland falling on the water wheel broke it, breaking their power source. The Rutans gather to install their new energy lattice and declare their preparations to create a human army to fight the Sontarans a complete success. The Doctor berates Nyssa for her actions but she explains that she has given them "unlimited energy", exactly what they wanted as they would be too clever to detect a sabotage on the unit, something the doctor may have done. The Rutans activate the converter and while it begins to function, it quickly exceeds its capacity and the Rutans, in complete danger, decide to try and launch into space to work off the excess power.
The villagers observe from afar the expansion of the castle/ship and panic, even though the Doctor explains that they don't have to do anything. Nyssa starts to instruct them about the situation, explaining the castle is a "green dragon" shooting "fireballs", mimicking the lines in the play they saw earlier in Stockbridge in 1899. When all begin to recover from excess lift-off, it is revealed that Hubert is really named George, but he gladly accepts the title of Earl bestowed on him by the villagers. Osbert descends from the castle, and the Doctor theorises that despite being a Rutan clone, he is one free of Rutan influence. Nyssa realises that all his descendants will have Rutan heritage and while the Doctor says it should be fine so long as no one discovers this, he realises what she is getting at and they immediately head to the TARDIS and travel to 1899 again.
Once there, they are confronted by the current village inhabitants who begin behaving like Rutans. They capture the Doctor and Nyssa and bring them to the remains of the castle, where the Doctor realises that a new Rutan ship has been growing in the ground for 700 years. They try to threaten the Doctor by taking Nyssa hostage but the Doctor reassures her that it will be fine, opens the door to the ship, grabs Nyssa and they leap inside, closing the door behind them. The Doctor attempts to launch the ship into the stratosphere to get its influence away from the villagers but discovers that the ship is in bad condition and is about to explode...
- The Doctor - Peter Davison
- Nyssa - Sarah Sutton
- Roland of Brittany/Mummer - John Sessions
- Hubert, Earl of Mummerset/George/Mummer - Joe Thomas
- Osbert/Mummer/Yokel/Demon - Richard Cotton
- Maud the Withered/Yokel - Susan Brown
- Yavuz/Mummer/Yokel/Demon - Teddy Kempner
- Smithy/Mummer - Trevor Cooper
- Nyssa tells the Doctor that she doesn't want to go to 21st century Stockbridge because seeing Andrew Harper would be awkward.
- The Doctor mentions the Sontaran Jingo Linx who inhabited Irongron's castle.
- There is a Rutan Drone Commander inhabiting Stockbridge Castle.
- The Doctor additionally suggests that Linx followed the Rutan to Earth.
- The Rutans are from Ruta III, an ice world, and thus have little tolerance for heat.
- The Rutan aimed to create a clone factory, creating clones of Rutans whilst in human form. Subsequently, several members of the community of Stockbridge had elements of Rutan genetics in their bodies following one of the clones escaping.
- A Mummerset black is a type of boar.
- This audio drama was recorded on 15 and 16 June 2009 at the Moat Studios.
- It was released on 16 October 2009.
- CD 2 includes Episode 8 of The Three Companions: The Battle of World's End Junction.
- On the "CD Extras", several cast members described the story as having a "Monty Python-esque" feel.
- Both the Doctor and Osbert refer to 1199 as being "the Year the Ant by the Lion was Slain." In actuality, it has been described as "the Year the Lion by the Ant was slain," referring to Richard the Lionheart's death at the hands of a young French boy named Pierre Basile, Bertran de Gudrun or John Sabroz.
- The Doctor quotes the Percy Shelley poem The Tower of Famine.
- This story marks the first appearance of the Rutans in a Doctor Who audio drama. However, they previously appeared in the Bernice Summerfield audio drama The Bellotron Incident.
- This story is set between Time-Flight and Arc of Infinity.
- Nyssa mentions Andrew Harper, the man whom she met and had a brief relationship with in AUDIO: Autumn.
- The Doctor refers to his meeting with Richard the Lionheart in Palestine during the Third Crusade in 1190. (TV: The Crusade)
- The Doctor mentions that he was a friend of the 12th century knight Sir Justin, who travelled with him in the TARDIS briefly after being transported to the 20th century by Melanicus. (COMIC: The Tides of Time)
- The Doctor mentions that the Rutans are trying to disguise themselves by changing form like a chameleon, making a pun by calling it "sham-eleon" since Rutans can't naturally do this. The Doctor encountered shape-changing aliens called the Chameleons while investigating disappearances of passengers aboard Chameleon Tours at Gatwick airport in 1966. (TV: The Faceless Ones)
- The Doctor mentions Jingo Linx and Irongron. He theorises that Linx may have arrived in 13th century England as he was tracking the Rutan. (TV: The Time Warrior)
- The Fourth Doctor and Leela previously encountered the Rutans on Fang Rock in the 1900s. (TV: Horror of Fang Rock) The characters in this story also continuously note the dense and heavy fog appearing throughout, something that was also common to the location of the lighthouse on Fang Rock. This is because Rutans cannot survive in warm environments, a fact mentioned in both stories.
- The Doctor expresses a desire to meet Percy Shelley. The Eighth Doctor would later meet both Shelley and his wife Mary in Switzerland in June 1816. The latter subsequently became one of his companions, travelling with him for several years. (AUDIO: Mary's Story) The Thirteenth Doctor also met him around the same time (TV: The Haunting of Villa Diodati)
- The knight in the story is referred to as a "Turkish Knight". The Doctor and Mary Shelley would later encounter a Cyberman known as "The Silver Turk" twenty-six years earlier. (AUDIO: The Silver Turk)
- More than fifty years later in her personal timeline, Nyssa would encounter the Rutans' sworn enemies, the Sontarans, on Samur. (AUDIO: Heroes of Sontar)
- The Fifth Doctor would later encounter the Rutans once again in the Unukalhai system in 2371 in the company of Turlough. (PROSE: Lords of the Storm)
- Maud the Withered may be an ancestor of Alice Withers. (AUDIO: The Eternal Summer)
- Nyssa uses her title as a royal of Traken to gain favours from some local. She would use it again in a similar manner for similar reasons on Luparis. (AUDIO: Hexagora)
- Official Castle of Fear page page at bigfinish.com
- DisContinuity for Castle of Fear at Tetrapyriarbus - The DisContinuity Guide